Research shows that children aged six to 11 are attracted to the sleek, light, colourful packs of certain cigarette brands without fully understanding the deadly effects of the product inside.
One young child said a packet “reminds me of a Ferrari” and another exclaimed: “yeah, pink, pink, pink!”
Professor Robert West, director of tobacco research at University College London said: “Tobacco companies claim they don’t market their products to children. But the truth is their products are attractive to children. This is about protecting children.”
With increasingly tight restrictions on marketing within the tobacco industry, cigarette brands are relying more on more on the look of their packaging to catch the eyes of potential customers over the counter.
Cancer Research UK organised eight focus groups with 15-year-olds in a bid to find out what kind of packaging the were drawn to. Girls tended to be attracted to brands like Silk Cut and Vogue Superslims because the packets reminded them of perfume, make-up and chocolate. Boys preferred Lambert, Butler and Marlbro Bright Leaf because the packets conveyed popularity, maturity and confidence.
The charity has since launched a prototype suggestion for standard issue cigarette packaging. The pack is olive brown, carries government health warnings and teenagers have described it as ‘boring and smelly’. Professor West believes around 3,000 deaths could be prevented every year if the government agrees to the banning of designer cigarette packaging.
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